Raised on a hardscrabble Texas farm, W. F. Hightower, nicknamed High, came of age during the Great Depression. High was not at all philosophical, but would sometimes express his political beliefs by saying, “Everybody does better when everybody does better.”
In recent decades, public conversation in America has shifted. We talk little about society and much about the economy. The economy seems to have taken on a life of its own. Preoccupied by incessant economic challenges, we ignore the common good the economy exists to serve.
Sabbath observance was a powerful institution among the Jews in the time of Jesus. At its best, it celebrated God’s gifts of life, freedom, and rest. The sabbath was a great equalizer, kept by rich and poor in the same ways. But sometimes sabbath observance was distorted and became oppressive. So Jesus had to declare that the sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the sabbath.
In twenty-first century America, we must recall that the economy was made for humans, not humans for the economy. We can experience again how everybody does better when everybody does better.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington